Where university meets universe with Tim Peake


Georgia Thirtle TV-Bay Magazine
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If you had told me last year that, going into my second year at the University of Portsmouth, I would have met and interviewed Tim Peake, then I would have probably laughed and said something along the lines of "I wish". Well, turns out I didn't have to wish, because I did just that.

As a second year in Television and Broadcasting BSc I've started to get my bearings more about the television industry by helping out with shoots, events and just generally trying to expose myself more to the outside world of filming. So when I heard news of the University covering Tim Peake's appearance as a keynote speaker at the Principia Schools Conference in Guildhall, before he received an honorary degree from the University itself, it was an opportunity I had to jump at. The day was a long one, with an 8:30am start to an 11:00pm finish for some people. Luckily I only got about half of that, filming in the morning until the afternoon. The evening shoot would cover the whole event of Tim Peake receiving his honorary degree and his speech. There was a dedicated team of roughly 15 people covering that part as it was going to be live streamed straight from the ceremony to the Big Screen in Guildhall Square. I, however, was covering the Conference in the morning with my friends, and team, Gemma and Harry. We were to walk around the Guildhall and film all the goings on inside, from the talks and presentations to the activities and workshops. This was a huge event and nothing quite like I'd ever experienced before. We were using the top end equipment, some pieces of which I'd not even used at university before such as the Sony FS7 camera.

I won't lie, in the beginning I felt very much like a fish out of water, not knowing quite what to do for such an important event. But then I realised that it was a sink or swim moment, I should either make myself useful or have not bothered showing up at all; so I grabbed the convoluted itinerary we had been given and the event plan and got cracking! While Gemma and Harry busied themselves with getting footage, I undertook the challenge that was organising the team, knowing where we had to be and when, and what we would do there. It sounds pretty simple, and in a perfect world it would be, but time management is a tricky thing. The event itself was running somewhat behind, and so it was now my job to make sure we showed up when everyone else did. We did actually get everything we needed, we even got to film Tim Peake showing up at some of the talks and meeting the kids there, all in all it was a smooth running day.

After running about around The New Theatre Royal and the Guildhall, we returned to base backstage and reconvened to decide our next steps. We decided we needed to do an interview and who better than Professor Bob Nichol, director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth. We took Professor Nichol up to the dress circle in the main auditorium and did a quick piece about what the day was truly all about for the children who came, and it really was quite an inspiring thing to witness first hand.

After having completed our day of filming, our time had come, it was time to speak to the man of the hour...well, day really, it was time to speak to Tim Peake. The whole thing was very short and sweet, Gemma interviewed him while Harry and I stayed behind camera. It was quite a surreal moment since I never thought I'd ever meet an actual astronaut, and yet here I was, sitting opposite Tim Peake and joking about the weather while we set up to film him.

So yes, if you'd told me I was going to meet Tim Peake a year ago I wouldn't have believed you. But it's hard to dispute the truth¦


Tags: iss120 | tim peake | education | ccitv | Georgia Thirtle
Contributing Author Georgia Thirtle

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